Does fluoxetine need to be taken with food? (3+ tips)

In this article, we will discuss whether it’s safe to take fluoxetine with food, which foods to avoid while taking fluoxetine, and the benefits of doing so. 

Does fluoxetine need to be taken with food? 

Fluoxetine can be taken with or without food. It is usually recommended to take with food when you are experiencing any gastric disturbance. When taking fluoxetine, it is advisable to take it with food to minimize side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

Food in the stomach can prevent drugs from irritating the stomach lining, reducing GI side effects like nausea, vomiting and heartburn. Side effects can differ from person to person, and it is not necessary that everyone experiences them.

If you are experiencing any side effects for an extended period of time, consult your physician for further management. Note that abruptly discontinuing fluoxetine can cause withdrawal symptoms. 

What are the foods to avoid while taking fluoxetine?

There are certain foods which should be avoided when you take fluoxetine. 

  • Grape juice
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine 

Do not mix the liquid or tablet form of fluoxetine with grape juice. Grape juice inhibits the enzyme that metabolizes fluoxetine. Grape juice and alcohol alter the drug’s pharmacokinetics and increase its serum concentration, leading to more side effects and the risk of serotonin syndrome. (1)

Serotonin syndrome occurs when there is excess serotonin release in your body. The symptoms of serotonin syndrome can range from mild to moderate, including nausea, vomiting, agitation, insomnia, rapid heart rate, altered mental status, autonomic dysfunction and neuromuscular excitation. (2)

Can you shift from taking fluoxetine with food to without food? 

To ensure the best results when taking fluoxetine, it is advised to maintain a consistent pattern of taking it with or without food. This can help to regulate the medication’s effects and promote overall wellness. If you switch from taking this medication with food to taking it without food, you may experience unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects. 

Common GI side effects caused by fluoxetine

Antidepressants are known to cause GI disturbances such as: 

  • Nausea 
  • Anorexia
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth 
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)

If you are experiencing the side effects mentioned above due to fluoxetine, it is recommended to take fluoxetine with food. If you are experiencing these side effects for an extended period of time, consult your physician for further management. 

What are the pros and cons of taking fluoxetine with food?

Here are some pros and cons of using fluoxetine with food 

Pros of taking fluoxetine with food

  • Reduced gastrointestinal discomfort: One of the primary benefits of taking fluoxetine with food is that it may reduce GI side effects such as nausea, anorexia, diarrhoea, dry mouth, and dyspepsia (indigestion). 

Cons of taking fluoxetine with food.

  • Delayed onset of action: In some cases, taking fluoxetine with a large meal may delay the onset of the medication’s therapeutic effects. 
  • Complex dosage timing: Coordinating medication with meals can be challenging, especially for people with irregular eating patterns or dietary restrictions. 
  • Potential food interaction: Certain foods can interact with fluoxetine, affecting its absorption or metabolism—for example, grape juice. 

Although GI side effects from fluoxetine are common, it’s important to remember that they are usually temporary and will subside as your body adjusts to the medication. In the meantime, you might try taking fluoxetine with food, which can help to alleviate these symptoms.

It’s important to note that suddenly stopping the use of fluoxetine can lead to withdrawal symptoms and potentially worsen your condition. It’s best to consult with your healthcare provider to manage any changes to your medication properly.

What can you do along with taking fluoxetine with food? 

  • Dietary adjustment: Modify your diet to include easily digestible foods. Avoid spicy, greasy and highly acidic foods, which can exacerbate GI symptoms. 
  • Hydration: To prevent dehydration and avoid worsening GI symptoms, it’s important to stay well hydrated. Make sure to drink enough fluids throughout the day.
  • Fibre intake: One way to promote good digestive health is to incorporate more fibre-rich foods into your daily meals. This can help prevent or manage constipation. Some examples of high-fibre foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. 
  • Manage stress: To reduce stress, try practising techniques such as meditation and deep breathing. These methods can help you relax and calm your mind, allowing you to better deal with stressors in your life.
  • Regular meals: Maintain a regular eating schedule with smaller, more frequent meals to help digestion.
  • Physical activity: It is important to engage in regular physical activities such as sports and extracurricular activities. Make it a habit to participate in activities that promote physical fitness and well-being. 


In summary, fluoxetine can be taken with or without food. If you experience any gastrointestinal side effects, taking fluoxetine with food is recommended.

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Kiani J, Imam SZ. Medicinal importance of grapefruit juice and its interaction with various drugs. Nutrition Journal. 2007 Dec;6:1-9. Available from:


Simon LV, Keenaghan M. Serotonin syndrome. Available from:


Sohel AJ, Shutter MC, Molla M. Fluoxetine. Available from:

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